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Place branding and (co-)innovation in a west Sweden context

Conference contribution
Authors Eva Maria Jernsand
Published in The 26th Nordic Symposium of Tourism and Hospitality Research, Falun 4-6 October 2017
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Business Administration
Centre for Tourism
Department of Business Administration, Marketing Group
Language en
Keywords place branding, co-innovation, innovation arena, west Sweden, maritime tourism
Subject categories Business Administration


In recent years, a view of place branding as a participatory and inclusive process has emerged. The perspective involves features of legitimacy and responsibility from the part of authorities (Eshuis & Edwards, 2013) and engagement from the part of other stakeholders, such as the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia, residents and tourists (Jernsand, 2016). Such reconceptualization requires rethinking about the future of place branding practice. The top-down strategies and the limited stakeholders traditionally involved are challenged by bottom-up initiatives with multiple stakeholders. This makes it vital to consider co-innovation as an aspect of place branding. Innovation capacity is seldom included in place branding models (Daspit & Zavattaro, 2014) although new and improved products and services, the reduction of production costs (Zach, 2016) or the new types of networks and relationships that develop in creative environments are part of place image and identity. The purpose is to explore innovation in regards to place branding and what forums are needed to provide opportunities for co-innovation. A study of how four municipalities in west Sweden develop an innovation arena for maritime tourism constitutes the empirical example through interviews and participatory observations. The theoretical framework includes literature on place branding and innovation as well as concepts such as experience design, co-creation and different types of scapes and ecosystems. The findings show that the links between organic, spontaneous, bottom-up initiatives and the planned and purposeful initiatives are clusters of co-innovation, which capture understandings of different issues in particular contexts and develop them into innovations.

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